Andrei Pavlov, who was sanctioned by the British government earlier this year, was one client of Ben Elliot’s Quintessentially and Co Ltd, which specialises in providing experiences and services to wealthy clients
A super-rich former client of Tory co-chairman Ben Elliot’s luxury concierge company was named as a lawyer for the Russian mafia.
Andrei Pavlov was earlier this year sanctioned by the British government for his role in a £160m fraud which ended with the death in custody of fellow Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
Mr Elliot is at the centre of a lobbying scandal after it was revealed he runs an elite club of Tory donors called the “Advisory Board”.
Top donors, many of whom have given the party more than £250,000, have reportedly enjoyed face-to-face time with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak since last summer.
The Old Etonian tennis partner of the Prime Minister is a founding shareholder and director of luxury concierge firm Quintessentially and Co Ltd, which specialises in providing experiences and services to wealthy clients.
One of those of clients was Russian lawyer Pavlov, who earlier this year became a target of the Foreign Office’s new sanctions regime, designed to tackle corruption overseas and ensure it does not take root in Britain.
UK Press via Getty Images)
Pavlov, who used to be a regular visitor to the UK, is now banned from these shores and any assets he owns in the UK may be seized.
The reasons given by the Foreign Office in April this year are that “In December 2007, an organised criminal group was involved in serious corruption through the misappropriation of the equivalent of $230m of Russian state property via a complex scheme involving a fraudulent tax rebate.
“Pavlov participated in the fraud through his involvement, in particular, in court processes based on fraudulent claims for damages … His actions facilitated or provided support for the serious corruption.”
In 2012, Pavlov’s role in the infamous Magnitsky case was revealed in the Washington Post and he was first named in the British press. The followed year, 16 individuals were sanctioned by the US Senate and there were calls for Pavlov to be added to the list.
In 2014, MEPs called for him to be sanctioned by the EU along with 31 other individuals for their alleged links the death of Sergei Magnitsky, who exposed large scale corruption by the Russian authorities but died in detention in 2009 having endured “inhumane conditions, deliberate neglect and torture”.
At the time, Pavlov was paying £3,000 a year for membership of Quintessentially and emails, leaked online and provided to the Mirror by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, detail his numerous trips to the UK and requests for assistance from his “dedicated lifestyle manager” at the British firm.
These included 8299 for five nights in a hotel suite in Zermatt, Switzerland in February 2014, along with skiing lessons for his wife and daughter.
In December 2013, Pavlov paid £2,800 for three front row tickets at the Bolshoi Ballet.
He emailed Quintessentially for help with haircuts, apartments to rent in Pisa, Italy, and Montreux, Switzerland, and with sourcing a £13,000 Hermes handbag for his wife’s birthday.
In May 2014, weeks after he was identified by the European Parliament as a target for sanctions, Pavlov was invited to join Ben Elliot at a “shooting challenge” hosted by the Duke of Richmond. It is not known if he attended.
Later that year, Quintessentially took delivery of a £3,000 Aston Martin Silver Cross pram for Pavlov’s pregnant wife and tried – but failed – to booked a table at a “famous” sushi restaurant in Tokyo.
His £3,000 membership was renewed for another year.
Quintessentially has said it was not aware of Pavlov’s involvement with organised crime and a spokeswoman told Private Eye magazine last year: “If we had been aware we would certainly have terminated his membership.” Pavlov, 44, was not available for comment but he has denied the allegations against him, argued against the sanctions he has faced and described the leaked emails as “hacked and stolen”.
In 2016, Quintessentially won a contract from the Department for International Development to help “attract the right high-value individual investors to the UK” as part of its “GREAT Britain campaign”. The contract, extended in 2018, is worth nearly £1.4m.
Mr Elliot, 45, donated £12,000 to the Conservative Party in March 2019 and three months later was appointed as the party’s co-chairman, hired to “turbo-charge” donations to the party coffers from the super-wealthy.
A Conservative spokesperson said: “Government policy is in no way influenced by the donations the party receives. Donations to the Conservative party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission. Fundraising is a legitimate part of the democratic process.”
Mr Elliot is the nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall and has been accused of selling access to Prince Charles for one of the clients of Quintessentially, also a Tory donor, businessman Mohamed Amersi.
Mr Amersi, 61, a telecoms millionaire, had paid £15,000 a year to be an elite member of Quintessentially, when it organised in 2013 for him to fly to meet the the Prince over for dinner at Dumfries House in Scotland. Mr Amersi called this “access capitalism” in an interview with the Sunday Times.
But a spokesman for Elliot said: “Mr Elliot assisted Mr Amersi in meeting the Prince of Wales because he wanted to support the prince’s charitable work, and Mr Elliot is proud that led to large donations from Mr Amersi to good causes.”
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